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FACTBOX-Key facts about the Maldives

(Reuters) - Twelve tourists were injured in a bomb explosion on Saturday in the Maldives’ capital, Male, the islands’ government said.

Here are some key facts about the Indian Ocean archipelago:

POPULATION: 369,031 (July 2007 estimate)

ETHNIC GROUPS: South Indians, Sinhalese and Arabs

RELIGION: Mostly Sunni Muslim

LANGUAGE: Maldivian Dhivehi (a dialect of Sinhala)

GEOGRAPHY: The Maldives are a group of 1,192 islands scattered across 500 miles of the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of India

CAPITAL: Male

ECONOMY: GDP $1 billion

CURRENCY: Rufiyaa

MAIN INDUSTRIES: Tourism, fish processing, boat building and coconut processing

MAIN EXPORTS: Fish and clothing

MAIN IMPORTS: Consumer goods, capital goods

MODERN HISTORY: From the 12th Century, the Maldives were governed as a sultanate. The islands were under British protection from 1887 to 1965, when they became independent

The Maldives became a republic in 1968. In 1988 Indian troops suppressed a coup by invading Tamil mercenaries from Sri Lanka

President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, currently in his sixth term, has ruled the archipelago since 1978 and is Asia’s longest-serving ruler

Source: Reuters, CIA and World Bank

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